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Greetings to each and everyone of you.


This section for English-speaking viewers –
and all those enjoying the culture –

has developed over the months and is now offering materials of all kinds:

texts, images, poems, videos, etc.

It will continue to provide you with rich contents week after week.

 

30th Sunday of Year C – 2019

The gospel of this Sunday (Lk.18:9-14) shows us a man that, nowadays, people would say is ‘full of himself’!
This Pharisee does not hesitate to remind, even God, of all his qualities and good actions.
We justly see his claims for what they are: boasting pure and simple.

But, the 2nd reading (Tm. 4:6-8,16-18) presents us with another man, Paul the apostle,
whose words are also rather astonishing in this respect.
He writes to his friend, Timothy, in these terms:

“I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
 
Before writing these lines, he has admitted: “The time for my departure is near.”
He is aware that soon his life may be coming to an end, he looks back on what his experience has been.
His positive appraisal of his life could sound like boasting but he makes it very clear where his strength has come from:

“The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…
To him be glory for ever.”
 
Obviously, Paul was not longer the Pharisee he had been!

This is what is expected of us:
the recognition that whatever we manage to do,
whatever we succeed in achieving,
it is God who does it with us and through us.

An additional note is called for: some may argue that it happened that Paul boasted.
This is correct; in 2 Co.11:16, this is what he admits to:

“Let no one take me for a fool.
But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool,
so that I may do a little boasting.”

But he hastens to add:
“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”

Who could object to that?!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/30e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: backgroundbible.com

29th Sunday of Year C – 2019

“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” 
 
A question that is strange… surprising… shocking even?…
It is not from me, but it is the last line of the gospel text for this Sunday
(29th Sunday of Year C: Luke 18:1-8).
It is somehow… disturbing, and perhaps… it does not fit into our logic.

Last week, the gospel showed us 10 lepers cured by Jesus, one of them coming back to thank him (Lk.18:1-7).
We would expect Jesus to say: “Your gratefulness has saved you.”
But he said: “Your faith has saved you.”
 
When defending Mary of Magdala to the Pharisees with whom he was having a meal (Lk.7:36-50),
Jesus did not say to the sinful woman: “Your sorrow for your sins has saved you”,
but rather: “Your faith has saved you.”

When a paralytic carried on a stretcher by some friends was brought to him (Lk.5:18-25),
Jesus was not touched by their kindness for the man,
but the text says: “When Jesus saw their faith...”
 
When two blind men begged Jesus to give them their sight (Mt.9:27-31),
Jesus asked them one question:
“Do you believe that I am able to do this?

The praise he spoke about the Roman centurion must have incensed Jesus’ fellow Jews (Mt.8:10),
but it expressed clearly Jesus’ deep appreciation:
« Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. »

Faith seems to be the one thing that Jesus wants from us.
What he expects before and above everything else.

And I dare think that this kind of faith is

  • not simply to recite the creed,
  • not only to accept some dogmas,
  • not purely to follow the traditions of the Church.

it is altogether more demanding – asking for a total commitment to Jesus himself.
It entails a trust in him, and a reliance on him, that is beyond… all logic, indeed!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/29e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: sermons.faithlife.com

28th Sunday of Year C – 2019

There is an English expression used quite often by people.
It refers to the situation of ‘taking something for granted’.

It describes the attitude of making use of something as if it was ‘normal’ to have it.
We think that a certain object is meant to be at our service.
We assume that somehow we have a ‘right’ to dispose of this item.

This may not be a mistake if the object in question is ours and nobody else has a claim to it.
It is true that our possessions are meant for our own use.

But… what is seriously wrong is when we adopt the same attitude towards people.
And we do, sometimes… take people for granted!
Time and again we expect some people to do things for us, to render services to us,
as if we had a right to their help.
We take their assistance, their kindness, their patience, we take THEM for granted…

Today’s gospel (Lk.17:11-19) shows us 9 men who did exactly this with… Jesus!

And, amazingly, does it not happen that WE, also, take… God for granted?!
His tremendous generosity can be so much part of our lives that we fail to notice it.
We get used to the outpouring of his gifts and blessings, day after day, and we do not acknowledge this with thanksgiving.

This Sunday – and the Feast of Thanksgiving following on Monday – may be ideal occasions to become aware of this
and to say, wholeheartedly, THANK YOU.
THANK YOU to God who delights in showering on us so many good things!

Note: This gospel scene is presented in a video at: https://image-i-nations.com/the-grateful-leper/

Another reflection is also available on a similar theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/28e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: permahaus.com

27th Sunday of Year C – 2019

Questions are very much part of our lives.
From day to day, we ask questions from one another.
We may be looking for information, or we may be asking for direction,
but questions are definitely a means of interaction that we often use among ourselves.

But questions are also part of the interaction of human beings with God
and it has been so for a very long time indeed.

The 1st reading of this 27th Sunday is a good example of this (Ha.1:2-3; 2:2-4).
Some may say a rather… shocking example!
The prophet Habakkuk is not asking God for information, direction, or even inspiration.
The many questions he addresses God express his desperation.

How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?”

HOW LONG? WHY? Questions that many people nowadays would be tempted to address God as well.
Violence, injustice, wrongdoing, all these are still part of our world.
They are still part of the life experience of many –
the many who find themselves in a situation of crisis, feeling desperate and helpless.

“Then the Lord replied:
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
    it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
    it will certainly come and will not delay.

God has answered Habakkuk and his answer is still valid today.
We need to wait with the conviction that he hears and he will answer… in his own time.
Though it may linger, we need to wait for his reply…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/27e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Images: Pinterest   aboitebaptistchurch.org

 

 

26th Sunday of the Year C – 2019

Some people who find it hard to believe the Christian message will sometimes say:
“If someone came back from the dead to tell us how things are after we die,
then we would believe.”

This statement describes the attitude of people searching for a convincing answer –
an answer that takes away questions and doubts about where our human life is heading to.
But then, where would faith come in?

Amazingly, an answer has been given long ago.
We find it in the last words of Jesus’ story in the gospel text today (Lk.16:19-31):

If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets,
they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
 
If we do not accept God’s message spoken by his messengers,
neither will we be inclined to accept this message from someone returning from the world of the dead.

But the strangest thing is that, in fact, someone HAS returned from the dead!
Jesus has – we affirm this when we recite the Creed saying:
“He has risen from the dead.”
 
He has told us about where we are going: to the very place he has prepared for us (Jn.14:2-3).
What else do we need? 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/26e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: GOD IS REAL

 

 

25th Sunday of Year C – 2019

Shrewdness, cunning, cleverness, astuteness, flair – all these skills are more often associated with some type of behaviour which might not be altogether… honest!
When a person is described as cunning, people are inclined to think that there may be some duplicity or deceit in his ways.

In today’s gospel (Luke 16:1-13), we hear Jesus say:

“The people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind
than are the people of the light.”
 
Could it not be that there is a cleverness that achieves some good?
Can we not find some cunning behaviour that benefits positively a person in need – and that in a totally honest manner?
Is it not possible that you and I could be astute in working to improve the lot of people around us?

What if “people of the light” – that all Christians are meant to be – became shrewd in the way Jesus means?!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/25e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: rinaremy.wordpress.com

 

24th Sunday of the Year – C

Who among us, in our childhood, has not played the enjoyable game of Hide and Seek?
There was so much fun in having our friends look for us hidden in what we thought a secret place really impossible to find!
But, when in fact, our companions did not find us, the game lost some of its suspense…
So, we made a sound, or shouted, so as to give a clue about our location because…
we wanted to be found eventually!
 
At the beginning of the Bible we are given the story of, perhaps, the most famous game of Hide and Seek!
In the Book of Genesis (Gn.3:8-9), we see the first human beings hiding from… God who is in search of them!
This is an amazing story and a fascinating scene giving us a message that we are still exploring to this day!
A message which is good to ponder once again on this Sunday.

The gospel text offers us three parables of something lost and later found (Lk.15:1-32).
It is the third one which calls us to reflection: a son has been lost but by his own choice.
He has taken the initiative to go away, to ‘get lost’. 

In fact, his situation of being lost is more that of HIDING.
And, for a while, he does not seem too eager to be found…
Eventually, moved by a craving for food and, possibly too, for what he used to enjoy, he sets on the way.
Here again, it is God who does the searching!

And amazingly, this remains true for all our personal experiences of getting lost in this 21st century!
God keeps searching for us.
The question facing us is simple: DO WE WANT TO BE FOUND?…

Life’s meaning is ‘hidden’ there!

Note: There is another reflection on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/24e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/
  
Source: Image: iStock   Book of Mormon Central
 
 

23rd Sunday of Year C – 2019

 

“I don’t know what to do…”
“I wonder if I should go there or not…”
“Perhaps I should tell him… or maybe not…”

How often do we not speak these words, or reflect in this way!
Whoever wants to follow the right course of action will do this.
A person eager to act properly will ask him/herself these questions.

 

Of course, Christians should do so as it is a matter of following God’s will.
And God’s will is what is best for us, there is no doubt about it.

In today’s 1st reading (Wis.9:13-18) the Bible text uses perhaps less familiar words speaking of ‘God’s counsel’.
 
“Who can learn the counsel of God?
Or who can discern what the Lord wills?”

It refers exactly to the same thing:
what, in the past, devout Christians called: ‘God’s Holy Will’ – with capital letters!

The author of the Book of Wisdom is clear about it:
on our own, we cannot find what God wants from us.
But help is offered to us, that of God’s own Spirit, nothing less!
 
“Who has learned your counsel,
unless you have given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?”

Asking God himself what he wants from us: it is that simple.
And he will tell us, indeed HE WILL.
Not whispering to our ear, of course not.

But his message is given to us through:
– happenings in our lives,
– encounters with people,
– a magazine found in a waiting room,
– a book given to us,
– a song heard on the radio,
– a text found on the web…

Finding God’s will… a search always answered – it has been promised to us:
“Search and you will find.”   (Mt.7:7)

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/23e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Images: Crosswalk.com   Bibleinfo.com

 

 

22nd Sunday of Year C – 2019

People speak of the tyranny of ‘should’, the slavery of ‘must’, the compulsion of ‘ought to’ –
all the things I should be doing, the people I must see, the commitments I ought to honour!

All these lead us to get busy, and always busier, being constantly on the run, out of breath
and, at the end of the day, find ourselves empty and dispirited.

In today’s 1st reading (Ecclesiasticus 3:17-18,20,28-29) the wise man Ben Sirach offers us another lifestyle.
He gives us the picture or someone he qualifies as ‘intelligent’ and ‘wise’ as he says

“The mind of the intelligent man will ponder a parable,
and an attentive ear is the wise man’s desire.”

Pondering, being attentive, in other words: 
pausing, taking time, reflecting on serious matters and important issues.
Looking at life and events and finding the true purpose of our human existence…

Those looking for a slogan for a poster would start writing:

STOP RUNNING – START THINKING !

The perfect ad to stop people in their tracks and, perchance, direct them to the path of the wise!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/22e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

Source: Image: oosteo.com

21st Sunday of Year C – 2019

 People have described today’s society in many ways; one aspect is obvious:
ours is a society where there is much competition indeed.
It seems that most people want to be on top and ahead of others.

The gospel often speaks a message that goes against the prevailing mentality.
The last line of today’s text is a good example of this (Lk.13:22-30).

I imagine that many wonder exactly what will make it possible to be first in God’s home…
What should be done to achieve this?
Special prayers? Costly sacrifices?
What else? What more?

Perhaps, the first thing is to understand that what is expected of us is simply… to do our best!
You wonder: Is it that simple?
Yes, striving, from day to day, to follow God’s will for us in the concrete situations of our daily life.

It is an invitation to a competition of a different kind.
This type of ‘competition’ is NOT with others but… with our selves –
the less noble part of us and the best self that we can become!

And then?
Then, the apostle Paul tells us that we should remain:

“Confident of this, that he who began a good work in you (God himself)
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. » (Ph.1:6)

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/21e-dimanche-de-lannee-c-2019/

 

Source: Image: Fools for Christ